Former Canadian Radio-Television Commission vice-chair Peter Menzies sarcastically congratulated News Media Canada, Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez, Bell Media, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for paving the way for the end of news on Facebook.

“Canada is a global leader in legislative incompetence,” said Menzies.

Meta, the conglomerate behind Facebook and Instagram, announced in a blog post a ban on news content across its platforms in Australia, Germany, and France. 

Meta plans to remove Facebook News, a dedicated tab for news content, for users in Australia and the United States. Meta discontinued Facebook News in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany last year.

Meta said that the amount of people using Facebook News in Australia and the U.S. dropped by 80% last year. The company aims to better align its investments to its products and services values most by users. 

“As a company, we have to focus our time and resources on things people tell us they want to see more of on the platform, including short form video,” said Meta.

Menzies, one of Canada’s most renowned journalists, explained in a subsequent post why he mentioned Rodriguez.

“As I recall, it was @pablorodriguez who with delight declared that ‘the world is watching’ Canada which was insisting on legislation that was built on a fantasy that inspired Meta to ask itself ‘Why are we even bothering with news — advertisers hate it,’” said Menzies.

In Canada, Meta removed the availability of news on its platforms following the Trudeau government’s passing of the Online News Act last summer. The ban did not affect those residing outside of Canada at the time.

The Online News Act required Meta and other tech companies to compensate Canadian news outlets for sharing content on their platforms.

Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Meta Canada, said that Meta had been transparent with the federal government for months regarding its concerns with the Online News Act. She added that the act was based on the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on its platforms when the reverse is true.

“News outlets voluntarily share content on Facebook and Instagram to expand their audiences and help their bottom line. In contrast, we know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news,” said Curran. 

CBC president and CEO Catherine Tait said big tech is to blame for the state broadcasters’ $100 million budget shortfall. She claimed that Meta’s news blocking adds to the industry’s difficulties and lets “disinformation” spread on Facebook and Instagram.

Despite CBC’s declining revenue, viewership, and laying off 10% of its staff, it will get an additional  $90 million in funding next year from Trudeau’s government.

Australia’s Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and Finance Minister Stephen Jones released a joint statement in response to Meta’s announcement. 

“Meta’s decision to no longer pay for news content in a number of jurisdictions represents a dereliction of its commitment to the sustainability of Australian news media,” said the ministers.

The decision removes a significant source of revenue for Australian news media businesses, they added. 

The Australian government said it will work through all available options under the News Media Bargaining Code. 

In 2021, Australian authorities sought to alter the existing framework by introducing the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, which mandated that technology platforms pay for the news content featured on their sites.

Meta said that people don’t come to Facebook for news and political content; instead, they come to connect with people and discover new opportunities, passions, and interests. 

“As we previously shared in 2023, news makes up less than 3% of what people around the world see in their Facebook feed and is a small part of the Facebook experience for the vast majority of people,” said the organization.